The American Correctional Association (ACA) has passed a resolution opposing the practice of sentencing children to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The ACA is comprised of more than 20,000 individuals and organizations around the world in all facets of the corrections profession. It is the oldest association developed specifically for practitioners in the correctional profession.
The ACA’s resolution demonstrates that corrections officials–the people who work most closely with incarcerated youth on a daily basis–understand that life without parole is an unjust and unnecessary sentence for children. They are part of a growing coalition of national organizations, policymakers, and opinion leaders that have expressed their support for reform of our country’s juvenile sentencing practices.
The resolution calls for holding children accountable in a way that reflects the fundamental differences between them and adults, particularly as it relates to mental and emotional development.
“Youthful offenders have much greater capacity for rehabilitation and should be provided every opportunity to heal and rehabilitate,” the resolution states.
The ACA stands among a diverse array of more than 100 national organizations that have called for the elimination of life without parole as a sentencing option for children, including the National Association of Counties, the American Probation and Parole Association, the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators, and Boy Scouts of America.